How to Refresh Bully Sticks [7 Methods That Work]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

If you’re a dog owner, then you know that bully sticks are a safe and great way to keep your pup entertained while they chew on them.

But the problem is that they get stale and disgusting after a while. This can make things pretty unappealing for your dog, and it’s not good for their teeth either!

But don’t worry—there are ways to refresh bully sticks so that they stay fresh for longer and give your dog the chewing experience she deserves.

In this post, I will show you the steps on how to refresh bully sticks as well as some important information on how to handle them.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

How to Refresh Bully Sticks featured image
Dear Dog Owner

7 Ways to Refresh Bully Sticks

Here’s an important note first: discard a bully stick when they get short enough to get stuck crosswise in the jaw, or possibly swallowed.

You know a fresh bully stick smells, and that is probably why your dog loves it. But after using them, they might lose the scent and cause your dog to lose interest.

There are many ways to refresh bully sticks, but my personal favorite method is to soak them in broth. It works for me every time.

Below, I’ve listed some other methods you can try for refreshing your dog’s bully sticks:

1. Soak in broth

The reason why I like this method is that it works.

The broth will soften the bully stick, add more flavor, and make it more appealing to your dog.

I usually use chicken or beef broth, depending on what my family is eating, and just make sure that it doesn’t have any added salt or other ingredients a dog should avoid.

Just pour some into a bowl and submerge the bully sticks for about 20 minutes before giving them to your dog.

2. Soak in water

In a similar way to broth, you can soak the bully sticks in water, possibly overnight, particularly if you want to make it more pliable for your dog.

Not every dog wants to chew on very hard stuff.

Just fill a large bowl with water, place the bully sticks inside and let them sit overnight.

3. Steaming

This is a great way to soften the bully sticks for your dog.

Just place the bully sticks on a rack over a pot of boiling water, cover with a lid, and let them steam for 10 minutes or so.

Let them cool down before giving them to your dog.

This method is good at releasing the smells and flavors in the bully stick yet again.

dog essentials banner in content

4. Heat it up oven or microwave

This is another great way to refresh them and make them more palatable for your dog.

Just place the bully sticks on a baking sheet, put them in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 5 minutes, and cool down before giving them to your dog.

Alternatively, you can place the bully sticks in a microwave, set it on high for 60 seconds before giving it to your dog.

WARNING: This will potentially stink up your home!

5. Freeze them

If you want to keep your bully sticks fresh for a long time, freezing them is the best way.

Just place the bully sticks in an airtight container and freeze them before giving them to your dog.

This will prevent bacteria from growing on it and make it last longer than usual.

On a hot summer day, your dog is going to love this treat.

6. Coat it

Maybe your dog is not too attracted to its bully stick anymore.

What you can do is coat the bully stick with a thin layer of peanut butter (use one without Xylitol), olive oil, or coconut oil.

This will greatly enhance the flavors and make it irresistible for your dog!

7. Cut a bit off the end

This is probably the oldest trick in the book and also one that is easy and highly effective.

After getting chewed on by your dog, a bully stick is going to look really ugly and gross, so a simple way to refresh it is to cut off the end where it is chewed.

Just remember, if the stick gets too short, dump it.

How to Soften a Bully Stick?

It is possible that your dog might find it hard to chew on a bully stick, especially if it’s their first time or they are still young and teething.

The easy solution is to soften a bully stick before giving it to them.

The steps are similar to what’s been discussed in the section above, but to be exact, you can use the following methods:

  • Steaming
  • Cooking
  • Microwave
  • Soaking in water

Check out these homemade bully sticks. Nice!

Do Bully Sticks Get Stale?

Yes, they will go stale, but no, you don’t have to worry about this happening any time soon unless you’re going to be out of town for years.

Bully sticks are dried-out meat products, so they can usually be kept for a period of 2 to 3 years, depending on the manufacturer.

If you want to keep your bully sticks fresh as long as possible, keep them in a tightly closed container with no light or moisture exposure.

Will partially chewed bully sticks go bad?

Yes, bully sticks can go bad if it is not handled and stored properly.

Bacteria and mold can grow on it if left on its own so be sure not to let your dog have access to it, or else you risk your dog vomiting!

To clean a partially chewed bully stick, use a food-safe wipe and then put it in an airtight container or resealable ziplock bag to prevent bacteria from growing.

Alternatively, unfinished sticks can be kept in the freezer where they will quickly stiffen up and be ready for another chewing session tomorrow.

How to Store Bully Sticks?

If it is not stored correctly, bully sticks run the risk of being contaminated and turning bad, and your dog can no longer enjoy them! Plus, it’s gonna be a waste of money.

I have a few handy tips for you when it comes to keeping them secure and long-lasting.

1. Keep them in a cool, dry place

Bully sticks can go bad if they are too wet or are left in a hot environment for too long.

2. Store them in an airtight container

This will help keep them fresh and prevent any odors from escaping. No more stinky kitchens or closets!

3. Keep them out of reach of children and pets

Not directly related to keeping your bully sticks fresh, but ensuring they are out of reach is a safety measure not to be overlooked. Bully sticks can become a choking hazard for small children.

4. Check before using

Bully sticks must be routinely checked for signs of spoilage, and those that show these signs should be thrown away. Look out for foul smell, discoloration, and soft, mushy texture.

5. Freeze them

Consider freezing your bully sticks to increase their shelf life. The treat can be frozen without affecting its chewability, and when it is thawed, it will be ready for usage. This is also the best solution for used ones. Just give them a wipe before storing them in a container.

When Should You Throw Out Bully Sticks?

When Should You Throw Out Bully Sticks

In general, you should not let your puppy chew on a bully stick for more than 10 minutes at a time, and not more than 15 minutes for adult dogs.

Overdoing it can lead to obesity as there are calories in bully sticks too.

During this time, you must ensure that they are supervised as there might be a risk of choking if the stick becomes too small or gets broken.

When you see that the bully stick is small enough to get swallowed or can fit into your dog’s mouth crosswise, you need to throw it out.

This will prevent any unnecessary choking incidents.

Can You Reuse a Bully Stick? What to Do With Leftover Bully Sticks?

Yes, you can reuse a bully stick as long as it is still in one piece, long enough, and does not have any sharp ends sticking out.

If there are small tears or splinters on the surface, then you should throw them away, or you can try to remove them to keep them safe for your dog to use.

Clean the leftover bully stick with a food-safe wipe or a towel before storing it in the freezer using a reusable ziplock bag or airtight container.

If you are using them the next morning, you can opt to keep your used bully sticks in an airtight jar that is easily accessible to you but not your dog, instead of sticking them in a freezer.

What Do You Do With the End of a Bully Stick?

Bully sticks cost money, and I am not ready to simply throw out the ends of a bully stick.

One trick is to use some kind of vice to hold the bully stick in place while your dog chews on it.

This way, the end is usually not that dirty and can be easily cleaned up.

I highly recommend the Bow Wow Labs safety device. It secures the bully stick tightly and you can easily turn it into a fun game with your dog too.

Key Benefits

  • Durable, easy to use, veterinarian vetted, and dog-approved device that tightly secures bully sticks, preventing dogs from choking on the tail end of the treat
  • Best used together with the Bow Wow Labs premium, hand-selected Safe Fit Bully SticksTM, thereby ensuring a perfect fit

So back to the unused stick. What I will do is cut the end into tiny pieces and cook them up with broth.

This can be used as a regular snack or added to my dog’s food as a topper.

Why is My Puppy Losing Interest in Its Bully Stick?

If your puppy has been chewing on a bully stick for a while and suddenly loses interest in it, don’t worry, it’s not necessarily a sign that it isn’t good for your pup.

It could be a sign that the treat isn’t fresh enough, or maybe it is tired of chewing.

Dogs love to chew, and when they have access to fresh, tasty treats like bully sticks, they’ll go at them for as long as they can.

But as time goes on and the treat gets older (or dries out), it becomes less appealing and may even lose some of its scent appeal.

All you need to do is follow the steps above to refresh the bully sticks.

Alternatively, you can rotate the types of chewing treats that you give to your dog.

This will keep the novelty high and your dog is less likely to get bored with the same thing every day.

Have you ever wondered how are bully sticks made?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can my dog have a bully stick every day?

Yes, you can give your dog a bully stick every day, but you need to be aware of the calories you are giving it. If you are taking the stick away after just a few minutes, it can be used for several sessions and will not have much of an impact on its dietary intake.

How often can I give my dog a bully stick?

Sometimes, a bully stick can be used a few sessions depending on the size and how fast your dog chews. You can safely give your dog a bully stick 2 to 3 times per week, using a standard 12-inch stick.

What is the difference between pizzle sticks and bully sticks?

There is no difference between a pizzle stick and a bully stick except only the name. Both are dried products made from dehydrated bull penis made for dogs to chew on.

In Conclusion: How to Refresh Bully Sticks

Now that you know how to refresh bully sticks, you can keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong while also cutting down on waste. It’s a win-win!

Remember that bully sticks are not only a fun treat for your dog but also an easy way to keep them entertained and out of trouble, and using them with a safety device is the best way to do that.

Read other dog diet tips such as can bully sticks cause diarrhea, can you freeze raw bones for dogs, the Heritage ranch dog food review, and many more on our blog!

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

no more bad dog breaths banner